Working as a Group and Working as a Team

People tend to confuse the aspect of working as a group and that of working as a team. There is a difference since a group entails a collection of individuals who tend to coordinate their individual efforts. As such, they work independent of each other and do not necessarily work towards a common defined goal.  A team on the other hand, entails a group of people who work together cooperatively and interdependently in order to achieve a specific goal. There is usually joint accountability, common team purpose, and combined team talents in order to achieve the desired objective.

An effective team is embodied by various characteristics. Among them is prioritisation of team goals, members bestowed with clear roles, specific lines of authority and decision making, groups norms set for working together, success is shared and collaborated, and everyone have the ability to contribute. All these attributes show how a team is designed to work in partnership. Everything that a team member does should be for the better of the entire team and not executed for the sake of personal gratification. There are strategies devised to ensure that coordination has been enhanced. Despite this aspect, there is an intriguing characteristic whose purpose is to ensure that personal traits are appreciated and utilised.

Building a team can be enhanced by a variety of techniques. Among them is determining team membership and roles. This is essential in order to ensure that the members have the desired skills to form something coherent. It is also useful in establishing lines of leadership and authority. Another technique is the clarification of the purpose and having a clear set of goals. Here, there is an assurance that the members are working towards actualising common goals that have been agreed upon. Provision of support and access to resources is also a favourable technique. Fair and equal distribution of resources is vital for all the members to operate optimally. Support on the other hand, helps in moving forward in case there are stumbling blocks on the way.

Team members can be motivated through various techniques too. Among the ways to do this is by providing work that is challenging and meaningful. Here, every work is matched according to an individual’s capability. When it’s meaningful and challenging, there will be a tendency of putting in the extra effort in order to meet the desired objectives.  Another technique is showing respect to the team. When the members are aware that they are being respected, there is the development of a sense of belonging. Everything they do, they will do it as if it was their own since the failure of the team would attribute to personal failure. Offering competitive remuneration packages is also a constructive technique. It comes with an essence of job satisfaction hence improved productivity.

It is usually important to communicate to the team with regards to the objectives and targets. This is because it helps in creating a shared vision, enhances cooperation, promotes openness and trust between team members and the management, encourages feedback and supports transparency and fairness in performance management. These aspects help make the group strong since every member feels satisfied with the general environment. They feel as if they belong hence put in the desired effort.

There exist several theories of development that include Tuckman’s four stages of team development, Belbin’s nine team roles and Honey’s five team roles. Tuckman’s four stages assess the link between the relationships in groups and focus on the task. The four stages include forming, storming, norming and performing. Belbin’s is concerned with the identification of people’s behavioural weaknesses and strengths at the workplace in order to provide a balanced team. The nine team roles include resource investigators, plants, coordinators, monitor-evaluators, implementers, team workers, completer-finishers, specialists and shapers.  Honey’s five team roles on the other hand, are based on Belbin’s roles. They include leader, doer, challenger, supporter and thinker.

Conflict within a team can be caused by several aspects. Among the causes is non-compliance with policies and rules. Failure to comply with certain company policies such as discriminatory behaviour, poor attendance and unacceptable language will always cause conflict. This is because team members will view the people perpetrating these attributes as enemies of the team. Misunderstandings are also likely to cause conflicts within a team. This is usually attributed to poor communication. There is also the aspect of competition, which is always paramount with regards to conflict. Competition presents itself in that every member wants to stand-out in the eyes of the authority. Everyone wants the prospect of attaining promotion. This might result to members sabotaging their colleagues.

Conflict within a team can be managed via various techniques. These techniques include non-intervention. Here, the team manages the conflict themselves without any authority interference. It is more of letting the conflict run its course. Another technique includes facilitation. It is more of a group and one-to-one discussion. The main objective is to clarify facts and positions with individuals. This helps to determine the cause of conflicts and how each team member feels. Intervention has also proved to be an effective technique. It helps to deal with a situation quickly. This is because it can help remove disruptive employees and things get back to normal.

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